Grosse Pointe Boat Club
2023 BRIDGE AND BOARD
Matt Bontomasi, Commodore
Brian Fromm, Vice Commodore
Jim Callahan, Rear Commodore (1941 – 2024)
PC Buzz Young
PC Liz Natter
Sheri Allor, Treasurer
Sharon Stellingwerf, Secretary
Joan Ferguson, Membership Chair
Sheila Tomkowiak, Website Administrator
Tamra Fromm, Website Editor
1960-61 Dr. Edward R. Stoliker
1962-63 Al Adams
1964 Wilfred Barbret
1965 Robert Drean
1966 Russell Davis, III
1967 Stanley Shanck
1968 Frank Voorwerk
1969 Alvan Turney
1970 Ralph Bower
1971 Francis M. Huxley
1972 Edward Hickey
1973 Dr. Milton Lipson
1974 Ralph Burton
1975 Bruce Reynolds
1976 Dr. Frank McGillen
1977 Eugene O’Brien, Jr.
1978 Clifford Crockford
1979 James Finney
1980 Arthur Behm
1981 Charles L. Howe
1982 Thomas Guthat
1983 Dr. William C. Quinlan, Jr.
1984 Dale N. Scrace
1985 Robert Green
1986 William Twiddy
1987 Charles Witzke
1988 John Henfrey Smith
1989 Philip Allor
1990 Crosby Boyd
1991 Edward L. Harrah
1992 Arthur Kainz
1993 John Onstwedder
1994 Greg Tisdale
1995 Kenneth Munn
1996 Danny Krease
1997 Larry A. Dowers
1998 Thomas C. Van Der Maas
1999 David Hohlfeldt
2000 Bruce Srupp
2001 Ronald J. Borghi
2002 Donald Smolenski
2003 Frank Stellingwerf
2004 Stephen L. Sholty
2005 Jane K. Davies
2006 John Popovich
2007 Sheila Young Tomkowiak
2008 Wayne Onstwedder
2009 James Grenda
2010 Anne Nyboer
2011 Linda Onstwedder
2012 Maj-Britt Black
2013 Phil Gilbert
2014 Chris Greiner
2015 Geoff Boynton
2016 Jason Merkel
2017 Donald Smolenski
2018 George (Buzz) Young
2019 Reggie Beckius
2020 Dale Cox
2021 Leslie Wagner
2022 Elizabeth Natter
Founded in 1959, The Grosse Pointe Boat Club is a boating and social club (sail and power) located in Neff Park in the City of Grosse Pointe. The family-oriented club operates out of a repurposed garage fondly nicknamed The Littlest Club. The club hosts a variety of events including parties at the park and in the Scrace Marina, weekend rendezvous at various points on Lake St. Clair, sailboat races, and an annual Christmas party and Commodore’s Ball. We also offer annual safety inspections for boats in the marina.
THE LATEST NEWS
Game Night 2024
Close to thirty GPBC friends gathered on a cold January Saturday for some fun and games… literally! Thank you to Karen and Chris Grobel for hosting the club’s first Game Night! A perfect way to break up the monotony of the snowy and frigid weather.
Survey says… many members enjoyed the friendly competition of Family Feud while others battled it out playing Mexican Train Dominoes. A variety of other games were enjoyed by all!
For more photos, click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpbcphotos/albums/72177720314282245/
~ Matt Bontomasi
Winter Solstice Party
What a party! The 2023 Winter Solstice Party was the most well attended ever! More than 70 GPBC friends gathered at the Littlest Club to celebrate the shortest day of the year. Everyone enjoyed delicious soups, snacks and sweets. Thank you to PC Dave Hohlfeldt for making the wonderful soups, and thanks to all who contributed a sweet or savory treat. RC Jim Callahan was the lucky winner of the 50/50 drawing and went home with $75 cold, hard cash… literally.
Some friends gathered around the fires to keep warm, while others took advantage of the hot cider and hot cocoa with Baileys to warm up. Director Paul Maiale was even spotted wearing electric gloves! Once again, our beloved Bard of the Boat Club, PCx2 Don Smolenski, had the crowd cheering and laughing as he gave his ode to the trials and tribulations of Michigan Winters.
A big thank you to Duncan Currie for hosting this wonderful event! Duncan pitched the idea for a Winter Solstice party in 2018 and it has continued to be a great tradition for the GPBC. Many members commented that it is their favorite party of the year. Tip of the Commodore’s hat to Duncan! Thank yous are also due to PC Tom VanDerMaas and Sofia Bontomasi for conducting the 50/50 raffle; the setup and cleanup crew including Ken & Marty Casey, VC Brian Fromm, Dir. Paul Maiale, Lady Jen and Sofia Bontomasi; and Lady Jen, VC Brian Fromm and Fast Eddie Benz, for terrific photos of the event.
For more photos, click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpbcphotos/albums/72177720313561356/
~ Matt Bontomasi
Christmas Party Brings Joy
Wow, what a way to kick off the holiday season! Nearly 70 GPBC members had a blast at the annual Christmas Party this past Sunday at the Pepperoni Grille.
The party would not have been such a success without the efforts of our hosts. Thank you very much to PC Sheila and Dir. Veronica for all your hard work and dedication to this club! Everyone had smiles on their faces the entire time!
Thanks to Membership Chair, Joan Ferguson, the Grosse Pointe South Choir serenaded us with a cappella Christmas carols while we all enjoyed a delicious dinner and desserts.
And, for the cherry on top, Poet Laureate PCx2 Don Smolenski, delivered a funny and heartfelt ode to the Christmas season. His poems just keep getting better and better!
Thank you to everyone that participated in the Toys for Tots program! We collected a very generous amount of toys that will surely be appreciated. While we are a social club, it’s wonderful to be able to give back to the community in any capacity we can!
For more photos, click here:
Thank you to Lady Jen and PC Buzz for working together to capture these special moments. Happy Holidays to all!
~ Matt Bontomasi
Chili Cookoff Warms Bodies and Souls
The Annual Chili Cook was well…a bit chilly, which is to be expected, considering the theme of the event. No worries! Duncan “The Firemaster” Currie kept the fire roaring while over 75 GPBC friends joined in on the fun!
Nine chili chefs competed to become the coveted “2023 GPBC Chili Champ”. Thank you to the following chefs: Ken Casey, Terri Davis, PC Dave Hohlfeldt, Mary & Kory Kopchick, Joe & Danielle Kotwick, Lauren Krall, Bernie Loperfido, Mary Scrace, and Tom Van Tiem. Everyone’s chili was delicious, and it was a very tight race! Tied for second place were Ken Casey’s “Chili Chili” and PC Dave Hohlfeldt’s “Base Camp Chili”. However, the 2023 GPBC Chili Champ was Tom Van Tiem with “Bison’s Beans”. Congratulations!
As always, the party could not have been a success without the help of many, many people. Thank you to co-hosts, Director Paul Maiale and Kelly Basnett, for all of their hard work! A special thank you goes to PC Jane Keough Davies for her beautiful name tags and decorations. Thank you to the following friends that helped with setup, cleanup and keeping the party running smoothly: Steve Bowler and Kathy Grabruck, Duncan Currie, PC Jim Grenda and Joan Ferguson, Chris and Karen Grobbel, Jim and Kris Hart, Bob and Kathy Vanderpool, and Tom Van Tiem.
For more photos, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAXSsQ
2023 Kaiser Cup Results
So who won the Kaiser Cup? Out of eight boats, who took home the coveted trophy? NOBODY, that’s who!
The wind gods were not kind to our fleet on Sunday. Conditions included light, patchy air that never came from the same direction for more than twenty seconds. A sailor’s frustrating challenge, to be sure!
Because the wind was so light and uncooperative, the official scoring declared that nobody won because nobody crossed the finish line in the two hours allowed by the rules. Yes, some came close. Conundrum got the official cannon for crossing first… but still twenty minutes late. Saucy crossed twenty after that. At that point, the rest of the fleet who hadn’t already abandoned the race and headed for home said, “The hell with it!” and everybody headed in.
And what was waiting for them but a fabulous party at the Littlest Club, hosted by PC Sheila Tomkowiak with help from Kelly Basnett, Dir. Veronica Greiner, Geri Haselmire, Mary Scrace, and Ski and Ceci Chmielewski. A special thanks to Lady Jen DeWard and Dir. Veronica Greiner for taking photos during the event. More than fifty GPBC members enjoyed the beautiful — if windless — day, yummy food from Chicken Shack, and each others’ company.
Bottom line, everybody won on Sunday!
For more photos, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAUnGT
Summer Chow Down lives up to its name
More than sixty friends enjoyed the beautiful weather at the August 19 Chow Down. With the weather in the 70’s and sunny, who could ask for more? Our all-star team of hosts, including PC Linda & PC Wayne Onstwedder, PC Dave & Betsy Hohlfeldt, PC Jane Keough Davies and Director Veronica Greiner, prepared a fabulous feast for all to enjoy! PCs Wayne and Dave slaved over the grill, while the other hosts ensured the side dishes were made to perfection. Veronica Greiner’s Caesar salad had rave reviews! There is no possible way anyone went home hungry.
Thanks to the hard work and preparation of the above mentioned hosts, Ski & Ceci Chmielewski for check-in; Paula Smolenksi, the Onstwedders’ daughters, Sarah & Jaclyn, and Tom Krall for setup/cleanup; and PCx2 Don Smolenski, Sofia Bontomasi and Lady Jen for running the 50/50. Congratulations to guest Mary Beth Hathaway who walked away with $180 from the drawing!
More photos can be viewed via the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpbcphotos/albums/72177720310647521/
7th Annual WG Milliken Rendezvous
The rain did not dampen the spirits of the faithful GPBC members at the seventh annual WG Milliken State Park Rendezvous this past weekend! Four boats stayed the weekend at the marina, enjoying the sights and sounds of Detroit. Many went for bike rides along the riverfront, Dequindre Cut, and Eastern Market. Some even enjoyed the nearby Polish Festival. Several GPBC friends came by via car and boat for Happy Hour and dinner on Saturday.
A great time was had by all! Thank you to our hosts, PC Tom and Mary VanDerMaas for organizing this amazing annual event.
For more photos, see the link: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAR3b4
Commodores Breakfast 2023 Fuels the Day
Sunday morning’s weather was cool as well as comfortable, and 64 friends descended on the Littlest Club for the annual Commodores Breakfast. As always, the food was plentiful and delicious! PC Liz Natter earned her title the “Whiz” as she organized numerous PCs and other volunteers to prepare a smorgasbord of breakfast goodies. The breakfast was made possible by the following:
PCx2 Don Smolenski — “the Baconater” — and PC Frank Stellingwerf – Meat Meisters
PC Phil Allor, PC Jim Grenda, PC Dale Scrace – Pancake Makers Extraordinaire
Mary Scrace – Cheesy Potato Goddess
PC Jane Davies – Mimosa Mama and Bloody Mary Maven
PC Leslie Wagner – Hospitality and Check-in
PC Sheila Tomkowiak and PC Buzz Young – Clubhouse set-up for the beautiful buffet
PC Liz Natter – Baker of the beloved breakfast breads
Treasurer Sheri Allor – Advisor, Fruit Salad and Cheesy potato maker
A special thanks to Joan Ferguson, Lynne Loperfido, Duncan Currie, Veronica Greiner, Viviana and Jorge Bonefide for filling in when assistance was needed.
For more photos, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAM5gj
Homeport Rendezvous Defies Weather and Honors PC Popovoch
Don’t panic… pivot! When it seems like fate is conspiring against you, doing everything it can to spoil your party plans, some people throw in the towel. Not PC Sheila Tomkowiak and Membership Chair Joan Ferguson! When the hosts of the Homeport Rendezvous learned at the eleventh hour — almost literally! — that the caterer had been hospitalized, did they panic? Well, yes, but only momentarily. Then they leapt into action and found Mike at Boukie’s Grill in Royal Oak, who was able to handle the order at the last minute and — drumroll, please! — within the budget. And, on top of that, the food was fabulous!
Setup was also fraught. A team of PC James Grenda, Commodore Matt Bontomasi, VC Brian Fromm, Professor Jay Kaiser, Ken Casey and PC/Dir Buzz Young assembled earlier than planned on the morning of the party to set up the tents hoping to get it done before the rain. Were they concerned? Well, yes. But then a trip to the hardware store and four 8×10 blue tarps later, the sides of the tents facing the weather were well protected from the afternoon’s deluge. Party on!
Luckily, right before the party, the clouds parted, the rain stopped, and the sun made a brief appearance. And what a party it was! More than 50 people partook of the delicious dinner fare with enough left over to feed the grateful cops at Grosse Pointe Public Safety for two days. Not to mention a dazzling array of appetizers provided by the party guests. But the icing on the cake was the ice cream in the bowl – – a fantastic build-your-own ice cream bar with all the trimmings.
The event was dedicated to the memory of much beloved PC John Popovich. Several of those closest to him shared fond memories; PC Sheila Tomkowiak, PC Tom and Mary VanDerMaas, PC Jane Davies, PC Phil and Treasurer Sheri Allor. The most touching words were from John’s wife, Martha, followed by an ode from GPBC’s own Poet Laureate, PCx2 Don “The Bard” Smolenski.
The rain was kind enough to hold off until the party was over — almost. With about 20 stragglers still lingering and enjoying the evening, the skies opened up and the rain came down in buckets. The tarps worked great but couldn’t prevent a growing flood in front of the clubhouse that crept inside while everyone scrambled to move vulnerable materials to higher ground. Ultimately no harm was done, although it took until the next morning for things to dry out in time for the Commodores Breakfast.
As usual, a small army of members — led by Dir. Veronica Greiner and Sheri Allor — rolled up their sleeves and pitched in with the cleanup, and set-up for the next morning leaving a spotless clubhouse, ready to be messed up by the Past Commodores who were on deck to make breakfast the next morning.
You know it was a splendid party when the first guests to arrive (Jack and Nancy Addison ) are the last to leave.
For more photos, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAM4dm
Metro Park Rendezvous
Five boats moored and numerous others joined the festivities by car for the annual Metro Beach Rendezvous this past Saturday. A good time was had by all! Five golfers participated in the third annual par three golf outing. Thank you PCx2 Don & Paula Smolenski for hosting this wonderful event!
‘Sockless’ Sock Hop Rocks Neff Park
What does it take to bring a crowd of widely varying age groups to the City Park, get a bunch of them dancing vigorously, and take silly pictures? How about some wonderful music, very tasty food and adult cold beverages!
A Sock Hop — without the socks? Yes, it happened — but it didn’t happen by itself. Host RC Jim Callahan first pitched the idea and off it went. Both he and Marcia Cron were tireless — cleaning the club and getting the food. Others quickly stepped in to help: Ed & Fran Benz and PC Liz Natter.
Money was collected, drinks served, and a 50/50 barker helped to cover expenses. The tunes began to roll and the hepcats and their ladies were a-rockin’!
Many, many thanks to those mentioned and unmentioned, who made this party at the park a glowing success!
More photos can be viewed at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpbcphotos/sets/72177720309152904/
~VC Brian Fromm
Get your GPBC Swag on!
If you’ve been at any of our club events lately, you’ve likely noticed the cool polo shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps and jackets with the GPBC logo that folks are wearing.
You can get these — and more! — at Albatross Embroidery, located on Mack Avenue between Washington and Rivard. Owners Sandy and Jeni are both residents and boaters — and they can create whatever kind of apparel and design you could want. Below are new sweatshirt and polo shirt designs for 2023. But if you’ve got an idea for something new, don’t let that stop you!
And… you can also pick up one of those classic club burgees by simply sending a message, email or text to PC Buzz Young and he’ll help with arrangements, including delivery. They’re only $35.00 with checks payable to GPBC.
A great way to promote our club and grow our membership!
Fitting Out Party 2023
On Saturday, May 20, seventy-five friends gathered at the Littlest Club for the annual Fitting Out Party. First-time host, Dir. Paul Maiale, did a fantastic job. Aided by co-host PC Liz Natter, who did most of the front-end work, Paul assembled a terrific supporting team, like Ski and Ceci Chmielewski, Joan Ferguson, new member Dan “The Bartender” Currier, Geri Hasselmeir, and Dir. Veronica Greiner. Even Matt Bontomasi’s dad, Joe, got in on the action by running the 50/50. PC Dave Hohlfeldt kept alive his tradition of bringing the most delicious homemade soup.
What a delight to see Martha Popovich! Yet the high point of the evening came when PCx2 Don Smolenski, our Poet Laureate, graced us with an ode to ‘fitting out’…or something.
Many Hands Make Light Work at the Clubhouse
Many hands were on deck on Saturday, May 13 to help spruce up the clubhouse in preparation for the upcoming Fitting Out Party. A huge success! Thank you to all who helped!
Left to Right: Marcia Cron, VC Jim Callahan, Ceci and Ski Chmielewski, RC Brian Fromm, Fast Eddie and Fran Benz, Professor Jay Kaiser, Dir Paul Maiale, Dir Veronica Greiner, Treasurer Sheri Allor, Commodore Matt and daughter Sofia. Not pictured: Tom Van Tiem and PC Liz Natter.
Feather Bowling @ Cadieux Cafe
Forty-five members and friends came out for feather bowling at the Cadieux Cafe on Friday, March 31.
Many bowlers enjoyed dinner before heading over to the lanes. It was a particularly special treat to have PC Anne and Lee Nyboer’s daughter, Claire, working at the Cadieux Cafe that night during our event.
Jorge Bonafede truly brought his passion for bocce ball to the feather bowling lanes. We all appreciated his accuracy in making sure points were scored correctly. Everyone enjoyed the sport and camaraderie of their fellow members!
More photos of the event can be viewed via the link:
Thank you to Directors Veronica Greiner and Paul Maiale for conducting the 50/50 raffle. Fast Eddie Benz was the lucky winner and went home with $120 cash.
Thank you to RC Brian and Tamra Fromm and Rob and Sharon Suess for hosting this spectacular event!
GPBC Ladies Gather for Tea
Eight lovely GPBC ladies enjoyed fun and friendship along with lunch, tea and scones at The Pink House Tea Room in New Baltimore. Thank you to Karen Grobbel for organizing this first-time event!
Photos of the event can be viewed via the link:
2023 Commodore’s Ball
The 2023 GPBC Commodore’s Ball turned out to be, well, a ball!
It was a beautiful venue and so elegantly decorated. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from the open bar were enjoyed while Sofia Bontomasi filled the air with the sweet sounds of cello music. The food was plentiful and delicious, and no one could have possibly left hungry. Anyone with a sweet tooth was satisfied with a piece of cake.
Poet Laureate, PCx2 Don Smolenski, had everyone laughing with his witty ode Celebrating the Commodore’s Ball. Fast Eddie Washington and his band, Detroit’s Own Soul Purpose, had the dance floor rocking.
What a privilege it was to be in the room with twelve Past Commodores! It was great to see new members, Tom & Lauren Krall and Dan Currier, in attendance. What a party!
The Ball would not have been a success without the help of many people including, the following: Jen DeWard, Sofia Bontomasi, PC Jane Davies, VC Brian & Tamra Fromm, Treasurer Sheri Allor, PC Buzz Young, PC Sheila Tomkowiak, Dan Currier, Steve Bowler, Kathy Grabruck, Pete & Dir. Kristen Dame, Dir. Veronica Greiner, and PC Geoff & Monica Boynton.
Photos of the event can be viewed via the link:
Everyone in attendance enjoyed the 2022 photo recap slideshow created by PC Buzz Young. To view, click the link below:
Many thanks to PC Liz Natter who did an outstanding job at the helm and was instrumental to the success of our club over this past year! Each of our 2022 events broke even or made money. PC Liz hosted or assisted many of these events. Her welcoming and energetic personality makes everyone feel a part of the club. And, her Manhattans aren’t too shabby either!
Congratulations to the 2023 Bridge and Board
Commodore: Matt Bontomasi
Vice Commodore: Brian Fromm
Rear Commodore: Jim Callahan
Directors: Kristen Dame, Veronica Greiner, Paul Maiale, PC Liz Natter & PC Buzz Young
Treasurer: Sheri Allor
Secretary: Sharon Stellingwerf
Membership Chair: Joan Ferguson
Website Administrator: Sheila Tomkowiak
Website Editor: Tamra Fromm
Fleet Captain: PC Bill Quinlan
Left to right: Commodore Matt Bontomasi, Vice Commodore Brian Fromm, PC Liz Natter, PC Buzz Young, Dir. Veronica Greiner, Dir. Kristen Dame, Dir. Paul Maiale, Treasurer Sheri Allor. (Not Pictured: Rear Commodore Jim Callahan and Secretary Sharon Stellingwerf)